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BEYAH v. PUTMAN

March 13, 1995

MURAD HASAN BEYAH, Plaintiff, against SGT. PUTMAN, C.O. ROBINSON, C.O. BLOCK, C.O. LARMER, C.O. BURNS, C.O. LAMBERT, NURSE KELLY, C.O. PHIL, SGT. GLEASON, SGT. CHAMBERS, SGT. BIGHAM, and JOHN DOE(S), Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: HAROLD BAER, JR.

 HAROLD BAER, JR., U.S.D.J., Southern District of New York

 Chief Judge Thomas J. McAvoy of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York transferred this dispositive motion (and nine similar motions) to me, by order dated November 5, 1994, due to the backlog in his district, for the sole purpose of resolving the motion.

 Plaintiff pro se Murad Hasan Beyah ("Beyah"), brought this action in 1986 against ten guards and one nurse ("Defendants") who worked at the Onondaga County jail in Syracuse, N.Y. during 1985 while Beyah was a pre-trial detainee. Beyah and Defendants each cross-move for partial summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on two of Beyah's seven claims: (1) that prison officials violated his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights in disciplinary hearings; and (2) that prison officials denied Beyah access to court and counsel by restricting his telephone privileges. For the reasons discussed below, I deny Beyah's motion for partial summary judgment, and I deny in part and grant in part Defendants' cross-motion.

 The following represents the Court's best effort to understand Beyah's allegations of fact. On September 7, 1985, Onondaga County prison officials notified Beyah of disciplinary charges against him for calling Nurse Lester a "bitch." After Beyah's disciplinary hearing, Sergeant Bigham found Beyah guilty, confined him to his cell, and denied him personal phone privileges for seven days.

 On September 8, 1985, at 7:30 a.m., Sergeant Chambers served Beyah with Inmate Infraction Notice J-2124-85 for a violation of Rule 8 (sanitation) of the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department Inmate Rules Booklet, and disobeying an order. Sergeant Chamber's also notified Beyah of the second disciplinary hearing which would be held at 11:45 p.m. that night.

 At 11:45 p.m. that night, a deputy guard took Beyah to the second disciplinary hearing. At this hearing, Beyah testified that prison officials never told him to remove his clothes from the bars. Beyah also refused to sign a waiver of his right to twenty-four hours notice of the hearing. Furthermore, Beyah alleges Sergeant Putman denied him the right to confront the deputy who wrote the infraction notice. Sergeant Putman found Beyah guilty of the infractions. However, the punishment description on Disciplinary Report J-2124-85, is illegible and the record contains no other account of Beyah's punishment.

 At 1:00 a.m. that same night, Sergeant Putman allegedly kept Beyah out of his cell in an attempt to force Beyah to sign the hearing results. Beyah refused and Deputies Block and Burns brought him into a consultation booth. Once there, the deputies allegedly assaulted Beyah and Sergeant Putman sprayed mace in Beyah's face and eyes. The guards purportedly left Beyah in shackles on the floor without washing the mace from his face and eyes. Beyah states that approximately one hour later Sergeant Chambers wiped the mace from Beyah's face.

 On September 9, 1985, Sergeant Matts served Beyah with Inmate Infraction Notice J-2132-85 that charged Beyah with an assault on officers Block and Burns. On September 10, 1985, Lt. Molta and "Sergeant John Doe" took Beyah to a third disciplinary hearing. Beyah claims he requested a paralegal to represent him, but prison officials denied his request. Beyah further claims that he could not adequately prepare a defense. Sergeant Matts told Beyah that he had five statements by guards claiming that Beyah had assaulted them. Sergeant Matts found Beyah guilty of the charges and confined Beyah to his cell twenty-four hours a day from September 10 to October 10, 1985.

 Beyah further asserts that on September 18, he asked Chief Pirro for a copy of the disciplinary reports. Beyah states that Chief Pirro denied his request.

 II. DISCUSSION

 A. Standard for Summary Judgment Motions

 Federal Rule 56(c) of the Rules of Civil Procedure requires me to grant summary judgment if the evidence demonstrates that "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and [that] the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). "Summary judgment is properly regarded not as a disfavored procedural shortcut, but rather as an integral part of the Federal Rules as a whole, which are designed to 'secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action.'" Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 1). In determining whether there is a genuine issue of material fact, a court must resolve all ambiguities and draw all inferences against the moving party. United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 8 L. Ed. 2d 176, 82 S. Ct. 993 (1962) (per curiam); Donahue v. Windsor Locks Bd. of Fire Comm'rs, 834 F.2d 54, 57 (2d Cir. 1987). However, the mere existence of disputed factual issues is insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Knight v. United States Fire Ins. Co., 804 F.2d 9, 11-12 (2d Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 480 U.S. 932, 94 L. Ed. 2d 762, 107 S. Ct. 1570 (1987). The disputed issues of fact must be "material to the outcome of the litigation," id. at 11, and must be ...


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